LiDAR geodata comes online

Friday 27th January 2012
In order to capture highly accurate LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data a survey aircraft equipped with a system of lasers is used. Lasers are transmitted to the ground and the time taken for the beam to be bounced back to the aircraft-mounted receivers is recorded.

A highly accurate 3D map of Britain made available online by aerial mapping company Bluesky is created using data from aircraft mounted lasers that transmit light pulses that bounce off the earth’s surface the 3D map covers most of England and Wales, including all major towns and floodplains. Nothing there for Scotland? Not so!

Interestingly, had Edinburgh council made use of the aerial mapping company Bluesky's Treemap  the application would have allowed for better planning of the airport route, and perhaps saved some, if not all of the 3,321 trees that were chopped down according to The Herald 

 LiDAR technology has until now been used for environmental monitoring, especially flood mapping and engineering projects such as new road construction.  Available online  the 3D map complements aerial photomaps and other aerial survey data that are already available to purchase by simply entering a place name or postcode.

“By combining data from many sources, including our own archives, we have created what appears tobe the most easily accessible and comprehensive online coverage of LiDAR data,” says Rachel Tidmarsh, (right) MD of Bluesky. “Through a mix of value added and traditional reseller agreements, we can supply off the shelf data or work with clients to derive a customised solution for their specific project requirements.”

 Available online, in a range of formats suitable for use in Geographical Information System (GIS), Computer Aided Design (CAD) or 3D visualisation software,  LiDAR data is designed for applications that require an accurate real world representation of the earth’s surface and the vegetation and buildings that cover it.

From simple identification of ground surface features to more complex projects including flood risk assessment and mobile network planning, the data is offered, free of Crown Copyright, with flexible licensing terms.   

“LiDAR has until now been a high-end solution; delivering very accurate measurements, usually for small projects areas, with a price tag you would expect,” adds Tidmarsh. “By launching the data online we are able to provide wider access to existing data, encouraging more diverse applications.” 

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